Title: The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Author: Stuart Turton
Genre: Thiller/Mystery, with a SciFi twist
My Rating: 5/5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
How do you stop a murder that’s already happened?
At a gala party thrown by her parents, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed–again. She’s been murdered hundreds of times, and each day, Aiden Bishop is too late to save her. Doomed to repeat the same day over and over, Aiden’s only escape is to solve Evelyn Hardcastle’s murder and conquer the shadows of an enemy he struggles to even comprehend–but nothing and no one are quite what they seem.
welcome to this review of Stuart Turton’s The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I knew this book was getting a lot of hype, but I definitely didn’t know it deserved it all. I think this is easily one of the best books I have read this year, for many different reasons, which is why I want to do something different today.
Instead of using my usual chart for book reviews I will bullet point my reasons as to why I think this book is worth reading. However, please beware: THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN *SPOILERS*. In fact, other than saying that it contains excellent writing, I cannot say much else without spoiling some content, since it is a mystery. Believe me, it is way better to go into this book as blind as possible (just like I did). If you have not read it, happy reading! If you have, please stick around and let me know what you thought of this novel.
As previously mentioned, I loved this book for many different reasons, one of them being the writing. I think Stuart Turton is extremely gifted with words, he has a way of evoking sensorial and emotional feelings that is direct and to the point. Because I annotate my books, I had a tab only for ‘good writing’, and I will show a couple of examples here:
“Yet instead of being angry, he pities me. That’s the worst part. Anger’s solid, it has weight. You can beat your fists against it. Pity’s a fog to become lost within.”
“It’s like I’ve been asked to dig a hole with a shovel made of sparrows.”
Another one of the features I loved about this book is the way it questions the set boundaries we as a population have built around the concept of personality. Because Aiden is split between eight hosts, and each one of them has an effect on him, ‘personality’ as we know it is questioned in many instances, so much so that Aiden himself when he manages to leave Blackheath is a new man himself, product of all the eight hosts and the experience he has lived. Some of the quotes I liked are:
“Are we shards of the same soul, responsible for each other’s sins, or entirely different people, pale copies of some long forgotten original?”
“I’m a man undone, coming apart at the seams. I can feel myself unravelling.”
“Uncertainty is a crack through the center of him, undermining any suggestion of solidity or strength. This man’s been broken in two and put back together crooked, and if I had to guess, I’s say there was a child-shaped hole right in the middle.”
“I’m no longer a man, I’m a chorus.”
Finally, I loved the questions raised about morality. The reader has no idea why Aiden is in Blackheath, and just follows him through the eight days and eight hosts, powering through the lies that entangle him like spiderwebs. He is told not to trust anyone, however he still decides to risk it and trusts Anna. When I found out that Blackheath, in reality, is a prison, I thought is was genius. A place of rehabilitation for criminals who have to re-live the atrocities they have inflicted upon others… I was afraid the ending of this book would disappoint me, and it truly didn’t. When the Plague Doctor, in the end says that, “I can only promise I’ll be at the lake tonight with an open mind“, does that mean redemption and rehabilitation are a possibility for everyone? How could Aiden forgive and save Anna, a mass murderer who tortured his sister before brutally killing her? I am not saying this is right or wrong, just that it made me think a lot.
“‘People are murdered every day,’ I say. ‘Righting one wrong can’t be the only reason for all of this.’
‘An excellent point,’ he says, clapping his hands together in appreciation. ‘But who’s to say there aren’t hundreds of others like yourself seeking justice for those souls?'”
One last, more superficial reason for loving this book was that I could not figure out the mystery until the end. I had suspicions, but the way Turton unravelled the mystery was not the way I envisioned it to end.
In other words, I loved this novel, and I think a lot of people would too. Please read it read it read it!
Until next time,